The data that is emerging around the Ferguson Police Department is bordering on crossing my threshold from “typical systematic racism” toward “insidiously more evil than imagined.”
Datum: “The police department has three black officers and 47 white officers, or about 6 percent black officers, according to the Ferguson police chief. The city of Ferguson, meanwhile, is about 68 percent African American, according to U.S. Census data.” (source)
Inference: How does a community service, like the PD, maintain such a disparate disconnect from their community? With the stereotype of how young boys often want to grow up to be local policemen, how is the Ferguson PD so white? Do the white Police Officers live outside of community, or does the PD hiring process skew toward the non-African American applicants?
Datum: Ferguson PD members previously assaulted an innocent black man, and then conspired to cover it up. (source).
Inference: Precedent behavior for lying / abuse of authority.
Datum: Prior to Captain Johnson arriving, “the government,” in the form of the Ferguson PD, had no identifiable leader. There were no significant press conferences, just stonewalling (heh. Jackson). Line officers took extreme measures to make themselves hard to identify, including refusing to disclose their names to national reporters.
Inference: This is the behavior of people with something to hide. Or, find comfort in hoods.
Datum: After taking 6 days and intervention from the state gov to release the name of the officer involved, the chief of Ferguson PD released the name. However, the most prominent Darren Wilson just happened to be a black man, uninvolved with Michael Brown’s death.
Inference: Intentionally creating confusion/deflection to a black man to protect a white man.
Datum: When the Ferguson PD released the name of Darren Wilson, they also released video that purports to be of Michael Brown robbing a convenience store. (video). The family was quick to call this ‘character assassination’ as Officer Darren Wilson did not know of this robbery when he confronted/killed Brown.
Inference: The video is odd. The family as much as admits that it seems like it is Brown, who does look like he is intimidating the shop owner in the video (prior link re: character assassination). I will take that as they are not disputing that it’s Brown in the video.
It’s unclear whether any money was thrown on/behind the counter by Brown or his friend, reported to be Dorian Johnson. It does look like Brown, Johnson, and “third guy” might have been engaged in a plan for “third guy” to distract the shop keeper while Brown reached behind the counter to snag some cigars, but also looks like Johnson may have thrown some back (or thrown down money) when caught.
That’s not the real odd part, though. What’s odd for me is when they all leave the store, the shop-keeper seems focused on ‘third guy’ who appears to get in the car straight ahead and drive away. It’s unclear, but Johnson looks like he went toward and possibly in the car. Brown, unmistakably, goes right. The shopkeeper seems fixated on the car, not Brown, and eventually exits scene left. As the focus of the shopkeeper is not on Brown, my focus is not on Brown. Thus its very odd that the Ferguson PD handout had stills of Brown. The Ferguson PD’s selection of those frames seems like a distortion of what the shopkeeper was focused on.
Also unanswered re: the video:
- Where’s the shopkeeper’s report?
- Why didn’t the police confirm the clothes worn by “Brown” in the video matched the clothes worn by Brown when slain?
Completely regardless of the video: The cop who killed Michael Brown had no knowledge of the reported robbery. Thus, if this video is completely moot to the motivation behind the officer’s slaying of Brown, why did the PD release it now?
Collecting the Inferences:
Individually, each of these instances leave wiggle room for “plausible deniability” on the part of the Ferguson PD. Taken collectively, they suggest the horrifying reality that this is a unit that has repeatedly engaged in racist violence, and gotten away with it.
Thus, the initial choices to kill Brown, to not call an ambulance, to bring in the “show of force” were all motivated from the same places:
a) we’ve done this before, we can get away with it
b) if we don’t try to get away with this, whomever is the fall guy might betray us and tell all about where the past bodies are buried (literally).
I no longer think that Chief Thomas Jackson is plumb stupid. I think he’s a man who knows just how many horrors lie in secret among the Ferguson PD, and he was unprepared for the national/international spotlight that just might uncover one or several of them.